Kent City Council approves building height limit; affects land near single-family homes

The Kent City Council has approved a 35-foot height limit on buildings constructed on property within 300 feet of single-family residential zones. The Council passed the ordinance at its Jan. 4 meeting. The ordinance becomes effective Feb. 3. The city had no previous height limit on buildings.

The Kent City Council has approved a 35-foot height limit on buildings constructed on property within 300 feet of single-family residential zones.

The Council passed the ordinance at its Jan. 4 meeting. The ordinance becomes effective Feb. 3. The city had no previous height limit on buildings.

Kent resident Michael Johnson proposed the height limit to the city after developer Robert Slattery announced plans in 2009 to build a six-story apartment complex along West Smith Street next to the Mill Creek neighborhood.

City planners never received a permit application from Slattery to build the apartment complex, said city planner William Osborne. But that property where the apartment complex had been proposed now falls under the new height limit.

Residents were concerned such a tall apartment complex would impact the values of their homes by blocking sunlight, views and bringing too much traffic to the area.

As an example, Stafford Suites, a retirement community next to the Kent Senior Center, is about 55 feet high and is within 300 feet of single-family homes.

Under the new requirements, the development would not have permitted for construction, Osborne said.

Developers can still construct buildings taller than 35 feet in Kent’s downtown commercial enterprise zone.

The tallest building downtown is the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center at about 95 feet, Osborne said. The Green River Community College branch campus at Kent Station is about 60 feet high.

A two-to-three story building typically is about 35 feet high. Ground floors are usually around 15 feet and each additional floor adds another 10 feet, Osborne said.

The Council’s Economic and Community Development committee, the city Land Use and Planning Board and city staff studied and reviewed the height limit ordinance before the Council adopted it. City officials also held several public hearings.

The economic impact of the height limit remains to be determined. Few developers have looked at building in Kent because of the current economic conditions, even with the unrestricted height limit downtown.

“Looking at the trends we have not seen a lot of development proposals in the downtown area,” Osborne said.

City officials are looking at coming up with a new downtown strategic plan over the next couple of years that could address the impact of height limits.

“There are still a lot of opportunities in the core of downtown,” Osborne said.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. FILE PHOTO
Discarded cigarette leads to arrest of Kent double homicide suspects

DNA reveals man, woman who reportedly killed two people in January 2023 at local motel

t
State Patrol chief thanks public for support of trooper shot in Kent

Trooper’s injuries are not life threatening despite being shot multiple times

t
Boy, 17, fatally shot in Kent in exchange of gunfire identified | Update

Shooting between subjects in vehicles Feb. 20 along East Valley Highway near South 180th Street

Car damaged by bullets during Feb. 19 Interstate 5 shooting. (Courtesy of Washington State Patrol)
King County Councilmember wants more info about I-5 shootings

The letter, addressed to WSP Chief John R. Batiste, comes in wake of a Feb. 19 drive-by shooting that occurred on I-5 in Tukwila that left a victim in critical condition.

t
Kent man, 83, dies after medical emergency while driving on East Hill

Reportedly died from medical issue prior to single-car crash Feb. 2o along 132nd Avenue SE

Rep. Mia Gregerson. COURTESY PHOTO, Legislative Support Services
Gregerson state bill aims to improve immigration support

Designed to better address needs of refugees, immigrants arriving in Washington state

t
Federal Way man faces charges for shooting, injuring trooper in Kent

Trooper reportedly shot nine times Feb. 16 after a struggle following foot pursuit

Courtesy image, U.S. Department of Justice
Kent man pleads guilty to selling guns to those with criminal histories

Sold more than 100 firearms to those barred from possessing guns

t
Man dies after shooting in Kent on King County Metro bus

Altercation between two men led to shooting Friday afternoon, Feb. 16

File photo
Puget Sound Energy files two-year rate plan for electric, natural gas

Driven by the state’s clean energy laws, the plan has been filed to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

Washington Early Support for Infants and Toddlers program advocacy group at the State Capitol for HB 1916. (Photo Courtesy of Kindering)
‘When services decline, it’s the kids who pay the price’

Legislative bill would recover funding for the Early Support for Infants and Toddlers program - and could save the state millions.

A screenshot of the King County Sheriff’s Office Guardian One helicopter view of the arrest of a Kent man after carjacking incidents Feb. 13 in Kent. COURTESY IMAGE, King County Sheriff’s Office
Kent man, woman charged in carjackings, stolen vehicles case

Tracking by King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter lasted nearly 50 minutes Feb. 13 across Kent